A police officer shot a suspected shoplifter who pointed what turned out to be a BB gun at the cop inside a busy Texas shopping mall on Sunday afternoon, KXAS-TV reported.
What went down?
- Arlington police said one of their off-duty officers was working security at The Parks at Arlington mall when the Sunglass Hut reported the theft of two sunglasses, KTVT-TV reported.
- The suspect ran toward an escalator on the mall's lower deck near the food court, KTVT said.
- The suspect then pointed what appeared to be a handgun at an officer, Arlington Police Department spokesman Lt. Christopher Cook told KXAS.
- Cook said the officer fired and struck the suspect multiple times, KXAS noted.
Image source: Arlington police via surveillance video
- Police said the suspect in his early 20s was taken to a hospital and is listed in critical condition, KTVT reported, citing a source.
- One man working at a balloon stand took video of the suspect crumpled on the elevator after the shooting, KXAS said.
Image source: KXAS-TV video screenshot
- The officer who fired the shots is OK, KTVT said, and there were no other injuries.
What did police discover?
- The suspect’s gun fires BBs or pellets, police told KTVT.
- "Replica imitation firearms/BB guns have no place in society when used in criminal endeavors," Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said in a tweet. "There is no training that would allow officers to distinguish between what’s real & what’s fake in a matter of seconds."
- "This happened when the mall was extremely busy, there were a lot of bystanders," Cook said of the 4:30 p.m. shooting, KXAS reported. "But luckily no one else was injured in this incident."
How did bystanders react?
- “We were scared so we ducked behind a jewelry store,” teenager Quan Nguyen told KTVT. “Everyone was running into restrooms… it was really crowded.”
- Nguyen recorded video of people running and ducking for cover, KTVT reported.
- “After the first shot rang out, people were just standing there looking around," Nguyen added. "And then two more shots, and people started screaming, running and finding a place to hide."
- Nguyen and his cousins huddled together for 15 minutes, KTVT said.
- “We were all freaking out," he said. "My mom and my aunt were at a different store, so we weren’t sure if they were okay or not."
- Nguyen was reunited with his family, KTVT said, and police took them to an emergency exit.
- Shopper Edith Shepard told KTVT that "people were crying … trying to get their kids. Kids were getting run over. People didn’t know what to do. People in wheelchairs … it’s crazy."
The mall was evacuated and closed, KTVT reported, but mall officials said it will be open during normal business hours Monday.
(H/T: Blue Lives Matter)